4 Min Read
What Makes People of the Same Age Appear to Be Older or Younger?
It's happened to all of us! We walk into a class reunion or a party with a bunch of people we haven't seen in a long time and suddenly think, "When did everyone get so old?"
You're roughly the same age as almost everyone in the room, but somehow you feel like they look a lot older than you. Then, confusion begins to set in as you question whether you look as old as they do, or maybe you're a bright light in a dark room. You determine that it's the latter scenario and resume mingling with confidence.
After a few minutes spent basking in the warm air of self-assuredness, you notice another young buck working his way through the weary herd. At first, you brush him off as the plus-one of a fellow alumnus and not of your age group. Soon he's standing directly in front of you with a welcoming gesture as you nonchalantly peek at his name tag.
"Matt?" "Holy crap, Matt! I haven't seen you in twenty years!" "I hardly recognize you. You look amazing!" Once you recover from the brief astonishment of how well your old friend is aging, you begin to wonder, "What's he doing that the rest of us aren't?"
So, what does make people of the same age look so much older or younger?
The truth is that some people just age faster than others. Two people of similar chronological age could be decades apart biologically. Several factors, including but not limited to lifestyle, diet, sleep, exercise, and genetics, play a role in biological age. Physical changes that give the appearance of age are the manifestation of cellular health. Also, different parts of the body age at asynchronous rates.
An individual's brain may age faster than their skin or vice versa. In the first case, a person may appear younger while simultaneously declining cognitively. It's essential to understand biological age and address potential problem areas early. Like it or not, aging is inevitable, but you can do something about it.
When we talk about your biological age, what we mean is the condition of your cells. Continuously replicating cells make up every tissue in your body. With the creation of each new cell, a slight degradation occurs. Think about it like taking a photo on your phone. If you take a picture of a picture and repeat the process enough times, it starts to get awfully blurry.
Now think about how you could slow down the blurriness. What if you were able to touch up the photo every time before snapping a new version? If you can adjust the clarity and brightness of the current image, the quality of each copy improves significantly. Well, guess what? You can do that with your cells.
What's Matt up to?
Chances are that our old friend Matt is actively participating in his cellular wellness, whether he realizes it or not. He likely eats well, exercises regularly, gets the proper sleep, and takes daily supplements. Research shows that people with one of these three habits usually do all four.
Matt probably doesn't binge drink or abuse recreational drugs. Notice we didn't say Matt is a teetotaler. Like most men, he enjoys a glass of wine or a cocktail and may occasionally choose to chill out a bit recreationally, but it's not a habit.
Also, this real-life Benjamin Button tends to smooth some moisturizer on his skin, especially the face, more than the average guy. Matt's not necessarily spending hundreds of dollars a month on some fancy elixir from France but more likely using a replenishing body wash and face cream with a touch of SPF 15 that he bought at Target.
The number one thing that Matt does to keep that youthful glow and maintain his biological aging is he takes care of his body. Can you say that you're doing the same?
If you're already paying attention to your health and wellness, keep up the good work and concentrate on improving specific areas. When you work out, each exercise targets a group of muscles to increase overall strength. Do you target the cells in different areas of your body the same way? You should.
For those of us not quite committed to cellular wellness, what are you waiting for? An engineer doesn't wait until he can see the station before beginning to slow down the train. It would be best if you started applying the brakes now, or your train may come to a complete and abrupt stop.
It's never too late, but the ideal time for a man to begin fighting against aging is in his thirties. Ask yourself this question, "Twenty years from now, what parts of my body am I going to wish I targeted earlier?"
Most men have three answers to that question; my heart, my brain, and my penis. Let's face it, if you keep those three in proper working order, your odds of a long and fulfilling life increase dramatically.
Where does wellness count the most to you?